Turkish Airlines Euro-League Basketball: Play-Off Barrier Broken as Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow Earn Quarterfinal Tickets

Turkish Airlines Euro-League BasketballAt the end of eight Top16 round-10 matches, two clear quarterfinalists emerged; Real Madrid in Group E and CSKA Moscow in Group F. The Round-10 games threw up a major milestone, when the Turkish Airlines saw the half-a-millionth point scored, when EA7 Emporio Armani Milan played against Unicaja Malaga. The point went in the name of Unicaja’s Caleb Green, who scored from an open three-point shot with 8:16 left in the second quarter. The 500,000th point came 14 years and 5 months after the first ever point of Euroleague, scored by the legendary Dino Radja for Olympiacos Piraeus in the first game of this competition with Real Madrid on October 16, 2000. Over the years, 81 different teams have contributed to the half-million points with Laboral Kutxa Vitoria notching up the maximum of 26,142 points. Of individual players, FC Barcelona’s Juan Carlos Navarro is the lead contributor with 3600 points. After the end of Round-10 games, there was another milestone for Zalgiris Kaunas, who attained their 100th victory in the Turkish Airlines Euro-League. A brief account of Group E and Group F Top 16 Round-10 games, played on March 12 & 13, 2015, is as follows.

 

Group E

 

Real Madrid took another step towards their second successive title challenge in a Group E match on Thursday. Playing in front of home fans, last year’s runners-up overwhelmed ALBA Berlin 93-62. This was Real’s 9th victory in 10 Top 16 rounds and they led the score in all quarters except the second. Opening with a double-digit lead, the hosts led 46-39 at halftime despite conceding the second quarter 19-21. After the break, they finished the third quarter with 24-7 and last quarter at 23-16. For Real, Jaycee Carroll finished with 13 points, Sergio Llull scored 12 and Rudy Fernandez added 11 with 8 assists. ALBA were without the services of Jamel McLean, Cliff Hammonds and Leon Radosevic but Reggie Redding score 14 points.

 

At Palau Blaugrana, FC Barcelona outplayed defending champion Maccabi Electra 89-71 to take the second place behind Real Madrid. FCB also clinched the head-to-head tiebreak advantage against Maccabi. For Barcelona, Ante Tomic led the scoring with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Along with Juan Carlos Navarro, Tomic led Barcelona early for a 16-8 lead. Maccabi’s Devin Smith did his best to change the course but couldn’t prevent Barcelona from taking a 47-34 halftime lead. Nothing much changed after halftime as FCB coasted to an impressive victory.

 

At Istanbul, visitors Crvena Zvezda Telkom Belgrade defeated Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul 91-69. Conceding only a single-point lead in the third quarter, Crvena Zvezda led all the way. For the visitors, Jaka Blazic scored 19 including 3-of-3 three-point shooting and Boban Marjanovic posted 14 points and 9 rebounds. For Galatasaray, Martynas Pocius led the scores with 13 points.

 

In the last Group E game, Zalgiris Kaunas recorded their 100th Euro-League victory, when they defeated Panathinaikos Athens 76-70 at home. In a close match, Zalgiris took an early lead but Panathinaikos came back strongly through Nikos Pappas to nullify Zalgiris’ early advantage. The scores were tied on three occasions and Panathinaikos had a slim lead in the fourth quarter. With three minutes left, Zalgiris went ahead as Arturas Milaknis scored back-to-back threes to take his team ahead at 70-66 and they held on until the end. For Zalgiris, Will Cherry scored 18 points while Pappas led Panathinaikos with 21.

 

Group F

 

Like Real Madrid in Group E, CSKA Moscow became the first team in Group F with an 88-83 home victory over Anadolu Efes Istanbul. Milos Teodosic top-scored for CSKA with 20 points and 9 assists. Vitaly Fridzon and Sasha Kaun made a 10-1 third-quarter run as CSKA led 66-57. But Efes didn’t give up and a late three-pointer from Dontaye Draper brought the visitors within 84-81 in the last 60 seconds. However, Nando de Colo scored a big basket and Sonny Weems succeeded with late free-throw to seal the victory for CSKA.

 

Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul scored another road victory in Top 16, when they defeated Olympiacos Piraeus 73-64 at Athens. Andrew Goudelock led Fenerbahce with 24 points on 6-out of-7 three-point shooting. Nemanja Bjelica added 16 points with 9 rebounds.

 

In a match that made Turkish Airlines euro-League history, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan edged out Unicaja Malaga 90-86 at Milan. It was Emporio Armani’s first home victory in Top 16 and their playoff hopes were kept alive. But the historic occasion came, when Unicaja’s Caleb Green hit a three pointer in the second quarter to mark the 500,000th point in Euroleague history! Green’s point also helped Unicaja to a 7-point lead, but Milan rallied after halftime, when MarShon Brooks scored 14 of his 17 points, with an all-important 11-0 run that brought the victory for the hosts. For Emporio Armani, Alessandro Gentile finished with 23 points.

 

Playing at home, Nizhny Novgorod beat Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 89-85 in another thriller. With seven minutes left, Laboral still had a big 74-66 lead but Nizhny’s substitute Evgeny Baburin and Trey Thompkins combined to produce a late 11-0 run that proved decisive. Thompkins top-scored with 22 points and 10 rebounds, Gal Mekel added 20 points and Taylor Rochestie had 14 and 9 assists. For Laboral, Davis Bertans scored 21 points.

 

R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining Kridangan.com in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.
R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining Kridangan.com in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.

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